Hexis AMR took an excellent 1-2 finish in today’s Qualifying Race. The team made no mistakes and stayed out of trouble, resulting in a double in the first one-hour race of the weekend. A clean run by Thomas Accary and Frederic Makowiecki was rewarded with a victory and pole position for tomorrow’s Championship Race.
Even though the front rows had a clean start things went bad for Bert Longin and Christoffer Nygaard. The two drivers collided, sending the Maserati MC12 into a spin and causing a leaft rear puncture on the number 8 Young Driver AMR Aston Martin DBR9. Teammate Darren Turner and Hexis AMR’s Thomas Accary led the pack on lap 1, with Michael Bartels moving into third place right at the start.
The second of the Triple H Team Hegersport Maserati MC12s came in to the pit shortly after with an engine related problem, the car not sounding too well as it made its way around the Silverstone track. A few laps later Nicky Pastorelli also came into the pit and the Dutchman’s progress (from 23rd to 14th on the opening lap) was undone. After intensive checks inside the wheel arch the Lamborghini was sent out on the track again.
Abu Dhabi championship race winner Thomas Mutsch was the next to hit trouble. The number 5 Matech Competition Ford GT driver lost his car and spun three times before ending up in the gravel trap. Even though the car was briefly reported as a retirement it returned to the track and after a visit to the pit it rejoined the race, it would only finish in 21st though.
When the pit stop window opened Pertti Kuismanen was the first driver to stop, handing over his car to Oliver Gavin. Hexis AMR’s Thomas Accary was also in early and as a result Michael Bartels and Peter Dumbreck moved into second and third. A few minutes later Tomas Enge was the last of the leaders to pit.
The race director wasn’t too pleased with the way Tomas Enge entered the pit lane and his team mate Darren Turner was given a drive-through penalty for cutting the pit lane entry. Matteo Bobbi and Michael Krumm also had to come in to serve a drive-through as their teammates made identical ‘mistakes’. Jonathan Hirschi took full advantage of the penalties and moved into second place, behind Michael Bartels and just in front of Jos Menten in the Reiter Lamborghini.
It wasn’t to be Young Driver AMR’s race as Darren Turner made the exact same error as Tomas Enge and was handed a stop-and-go penalty this time. Just as he was told that he would have to come in it was another Aston Martin DBR9, the number 9 of Fred Makowiecki, that posted the fastest lap of the race.With 23 minutes left on the clock – and the pit window closed – Makowiecki was ahead of his team mate Jonathan Hirschi.
Far behind the leaders the fight for P12 intensified with the two Mad Croc Racing Corvettes, the two Swiss Racing Team Nissan GT-R’s and the number 37 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini of Christophe Bouchut. Xavier Maassen slowly got away from the group, but his team mate Gavin struggled to get by the two Swiss Nissans. On lap 20 he eventually moved ahead and went after Maassen.
Darren Turner meanwhile converted his anger of two penalties into speed and posted the fastest lap time on lap 21. A 2:00.536.
Turner closed the gap to Sumo Power GT’s Warren Hughes and on lap 23 the Aston driver passed the Nissan at Club.
With just ten minutes left in the race the battle between the two Swiss Racing Team Nissan GT-Rs came to an anti-climax. Karl Wendlinger tried to pass his teammate Seiji Ara but rather than getting in front of his Japanese colleague he hit him and spun his Nissan. Just ahead of them, Peter Kox and Michael Krumm battled it out in touring car style. Door-to-door the two cars went around the track, before Krumm decided it was enough and passed the Dutchman over the curbstones.
Makowiecki knew the race was his and slowed down a bit, allowing his team mate Jonathan Hirschi to get a little bit closer. Jos Menten lost his position in the final minutes when he was caught by Darren Turner and Warren Hughes. With three minutes left in the race Turner moved ahead into fourth place and moments later Hughes also passed the Dutchman. The Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati MC12 of Enrique Bernoldi went up one place, but it was only after tapping the Lamborghini of Peter Kox and damaging the back of the MC12.
After thirty laps Makowiecki crossed the line in first place, followed home by Jonathan Hirschi 3.577 seconds behind. Andrea Bertolini completed the podium, the Italian crossed the line 4.935 seconds behind Makowiecki. Both the race winner and the third placed car returned to parc fermé without problems, the second placed Hexis AMR came to a halt on the track after running out of fuel.